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Mo. Executes Organized Crime Figure

September 1, 1999

POTOSI, Mo. (AP) _ A man was put to death by injection early Wednesday for planting a remote-controlled bomb that killed a rival in what investigators said was a battle between two organized crime families.

David Leisure, 49, was condemned for planting the car bomb that killed James Michaels Sr. in 1980 as he was driving in St. Louis. Leisure was put to death after all his appeals were exhausted.

Clark Hall, former supervisor of the organized crime section of the FBI, said the Leisure and Michaels families were ``also-rans″ compared to larger, more notorious families in other major cities. But the battle between them terrorized St. Louis for more than a decade and resulted in plenty of bloodshed.

Hall said the last organized crime figure to be executed in the United States was Louis ``Lepke″ Buchalter, who was electrocuted in New York in 1944.

Defense attorneys didn’t deny Leisure, of St. Louis, planted the bomb, but argued it was his two older cousins who were the real ringleaders. They got life in prison.

Investigators said the bombing was prompted by a dispute between the two families over control of a St. Louis labor union.

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